▪ Bovine biotech: researchers have created eight Holstein cattle that lack the gene for the prion protein, rendering them resistant to mad cow disease. The animals appear healthy without the gene.

Nature Biotechnology, January 2007

▪ Scientists have pinpointed one of the genes manipulated by Gregor Mendel—specifically, the gene that controls the color of pea seeds. It marks the third of the monk's seven pea genes to be precisely identified.

Science, January 5, 2007

▪ A ceramic called zircon, envisioned as a container for nuclear waste, appears less stable than thought. A study finds that zircon holding 10 percent by weight of plutonium 239 would last only 1,400 years, rather than 250,000 years, as was hoped.

Nature, January 11, 2007

▪ Not as chimpy: Factoring in the number of gene duplicates (the gene copy number) and not just the difference in equivalent genes, humans and chimps only have a 94 percent genetic similarity.

PLoS ONE, December 20, 2006